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RaciolinguisticsHow Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race$
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H. Samy Alim, John R. Rickford, and Arnetha F. Ball

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190625696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190625696.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 June 2021

Who’s Afraid of the Transracial Subject?

Who’s Afraid of the Transracial Subject?

Raciolinguistics and the Political Project of Transracialization

Chapter:
(p.33) 1 Who’s Afraid of the Transracial Subject?
Source:
Raciolinguistics
Author(s):

H. Samy Alim

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190625696.003.0002

In this chapter, I argue for a new way of thinking about race—transracialization. I analyze Barack Obama’s linguistic styleshifting as well as my own raciolinguistic practices (an autoethnographic account of being racialized nine different ways over the span of five days) in order to demonstrate that, rather than stable and predetermined, racial identities can shift across contexts and even within specific interactions. Analyzing these raciolinguistic practices allows us to imagine the possibilities for destabilizing hegemonic and oppressive processes of racial categorization. Drawing on Pennycook’s (2007) reworking of linguistic theories of translation and Pollock’s (2005) analysis of race talk dilemmas, I put forth the “transracial subject” as transgressive because crossing borders becomes central to disrupting the “ontologies” upon which definitions of race rest. Rather than doing away with the concept of “race” altogether, however, I work towards a “transracial politics” that necessitates the alternative subversion and maintenance of racial categorization.

Keywords:   transracialization, language, race, racism, identity, style, styleshifting, raciolinguistic practices

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